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Topics For Opinion Essays 5th Grade

List Of Original Opinion Essay Prompts For 5th Grade Students

An opinion essay is also known as a persuasive essay. The student will have to choose a topic that is based on their opinion of it. They will have to choose a side, whether to support it or oppose it, and then give reasons as to why they chose that particular side, and information that supports their stance.

For example, if they choose one ice cream flavour over another, one reason that could support their opinion is that whatever flavour they chose tastes better than the other option.

Students should be able to write a clear and convincing statement at a fifth grade level. They should write a paper that introduces their topic, states their opinion, and provides facts to support that opinion. All of this should be done in an organized and detailed manner.

Learning to write such essays will help to strengthen their writing and language skills, and prepare them for the future – middle school and high school.

To begin the essay prompt, you need to select a topic. Below is a variety to choose from:

  • Should vending machines be allowed in school?
  • Why should people have pets?
  • What is the best season of the year?
  • Which is the better ice cream: chocolate or vanilla?
  • Which school subject is the best: math or reading? (you can exchange these for a different subject of your choosing)
  • Is it a good idea to have televisions in bedrooms? Does it help people sleep or does it disturb their slumber?
  • Do you think it's a good idea for people to keep exotic animals like lions and tigers as pets?
  • Should students have to wear uniforms or follow a dress code? What about teachers?
  • Which is cooler: surfing or skiing?
  • Are clowns scary? Is it silly for people to be afraid of them?
  • Should students be allowed to have cell phones in school?
  • Should students be paid for getting good grades?
  • Should schools have fast food options for lunch?
  • At what age should you be allowed to have a social media page such as Facebook or Twitter?
  • Why is it important to recycle? Why should people do it if they don't already?
  • Should kids have to exercise? Why or why not?
  • Do you like breakfast food for dinner? Why or why not?
  • What is a good age to have your own computer or laptop?
  • What kind of things can you learn by playing video games?

Tips, Tricks And Tools

for creating an outstanding academic essay

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In my first year of teaching I was expected to use a writer’s workshop model where students almost always chose their own writing topics. This was before the Common Core standards and my district wasn’t very concerned about what genres students wrote in, as long as they wrote. I could definitely tell you that in my students’ opinion, professional wrestling was the best sport and puppies were the best pet.  I knew this because of the sheer volume of random writing I saw on these two topics, not because my students were skilled at writing opinion pieces.

***I made a chart of helpful sentence starters that’s perfect for writing folders. Get yours for free HERE!***

Things have changed and whether or not kids like it, opinion writing is now a staple genre in kindergarten through 5th grade. The good news is, teaching opinion writing doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth. Here are four opinion writing ideas that you can put in place right away:

Choose Topics That Fire Them Up!

When presenting topic choices for opinion writing, the key is to think about what gets kids fired up. What are they constantly complaining about? What makes them mad? What do they argue about? What do they annoyingly beg for? What are some things that affect them that they’ve never even thought of? Here’s a list of ideas to consider:

-How much homework should kids be given?
-What should the lunchroom offer that it doesn’t already?
-How much recess should kids have?
-Should kids wear school uniforms?
-How much allowance should kids get?
-Which cartoon is the funniest?
-Should kids be allowed to use cell phones at school?
-Which football/baseball/soccer team is the best?
-Which book should the school library buy/buy more of?
-What should the school add to the playground?
-What kind of field trip should the class take?
-Which school rule should be changed?
-What pet should the class get?
-What is the best restaurant in town?
-Is it better to be smart or to be nice?
-Who should be given more money, schools or the military?
-Would you rather vacation to a big city or to the wilderness?
-Is life easier for boys or for girls?
-What one book should every kid read?
-Nominate a classmate for an award.  Why do they deserve it?
-Should kids get paid to do chores?
-How much screen time should kids be allowed to have?
-How often should kids take a bath/shower?
-What is one thing that should be free for everyone?
-Should kids have to memorize math facts?
-Is it more important to know how to write or to know how to type?
-Should kids get paid for good grades?
-What one place should everyone visit?

Give Them A Jump Start With Sentence Starters

Staring at a blank page is the hardest part of the writing process for both kids and adults. I have found that the secret sauce for getting kids started is to provide them with potential sentence starters. It’s so much easier to fill in the blank than to start from scratch.

***Get your free sentence starter chart HERE!***

A chart like this is perfect to put in student writing notebooks for reference. Opinion writing pieces would use mostly sentences starters from the second and third column. Eventually students become more confident and creative and they can move away from scripted sentence starters but this is a great place to start. You will be amazed by how much more mature your students’ writing sounds when they start to incorporate some of these sentence starters.

 Create a “Payoff”

As adults, when we write there is always a purpose. We write the principal an email to convince her to send us to a conference, we write instructions for a homework assignment, we write a newsletter to parents about upcoming events. Some of us have cultivated a love for writing and will write a poem or a narrative for our own enjoyment. When students write it is frequently because we told them to. For some kids, pleasing the teacher is motivation enough but others do much better when they have more of a pay off for the hard work for putting their ideas to paper, editing, revising, and producing a final copy.  There are a variety of ways to create this motivation:

Give them an authentic audience – Students can write to the principal about their opinion on a school issue, to their parents about their opinion on an issue to home, to the PTA on their opinion about how fundraising money should be spent, to a government official about their opinion on a community matter

Give them an engaging project – Just writing their final copy on a plain piece of paper may not be very motivating to students. Try mixing it up with different kinds of publishing projects.

Write a brochure. The one pictured below is about a favorite place to visit.  Students enjoy looking at travel brochures as examples.  They could also write brochures about a favorite book, their opinion about the best sport, and a wide variety of other topics.

Write reviews. As a class you can write a book review and post it on Amazon. Students get very excited to see their own work on the internet and they feel that they have contributed to something big. Students can also write reviews about movies or restaurants and create a class book. They’re probably familiar with the idea of assigning a certain number of starts out of five. Students enjoy reading the work of their peers and will recognize many of the restaurants or movies in the reviews.

Write award nominations. Assign each student the name of another student in the class. Each writer thinks about what their assigned subject is good at and gives them an award for that trait or skill.  They write about why the person deserves the award.

 

Give them a chance to share – At the dinner table when a parent asks their child, “What did you do at school today?” lots of kids will say, “Nothing.” So when a parent reports back to you with something their child came home excited about, you know you’ve struck an important chord. One of those golden nuggets that kids will rave about at home is a special writing sharing time.  At the end of each unit, throw a publishing party or a book launch. The details are simple. Each student gets a chance to share their best piece with the class.  At the end there’s a little something special. For me it was a toast using small cups of apple juice.  Kids felt so grown up as we honored their hard work. You can take your own spin on it, invite the principal or other special guests, invite parents, maybe ask some kids to bring cookies. When kids are in the trenches of writing, remind them that their hard work is important because they will want something good to share with their classmates at the publishing party.

Connect Steps with Color-Coding

The Common Core standards require that students use an introduction, reasons, and a conclusion in their opinion writing. These multiple sections can feel long, confusing, and insurmountable to some students.  I found a game changer especially for struggling writers – color coding. Color coding isn’t just for reading groups and supply buckets.  Use color coding to connect the dots from the genre structure, to your students’ planning, to their drafts.  The color coding takes away a lot of the confusion and helps students to see how a big paragraph of writing is just made up of bite-sized sentences that they can take-on.

At the top of the graphic I have laid out the main sections of the genre and given each section a color.  Next you can see a planning graphic organizer where each section is outlined in the correct color.  Finally, there is an example draft where the sentence for each section is underlined in the assigned color.  To help your students take it one piece at a time, you can demonstrate how you would write your pink sentence, then have them write their pink sentence.  Then you demonstrate your green sentence and have them write their green sentence.  When students are ready to write more they can add a detail in the green and yellow sections.  (More on color-coding in narrative writing here.)

 

 

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Hannah Braun

Hannah Braun is a former teacher with 8 years of experience in the classroom and a master's degree in early childhood education. She designs engaging, organized classroom resources for 1st-3rd grade teachers.

Author: Hannah Braun

http://www.theclassroomkey.com

Hannah Braun is a former teacher with 8 years of experience in the classroom and a master's degree in early childhood education. She designs engaging, organized classroom resources for 1st-3rd grade teachers.

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